Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

How to choose cabinet hardware, plus my fave traditional kitchen hardware styles

It has taken me MONTHS of mood-boarding and even installing this kitchen, and I have FINALLY chosen our hardware!! Shopping for cabinet/drawer hardware is so fun, but when it comes time to choose one of the amazing pretty styles of basically jewelry for your cabinets, it can be so hard!! I love them all and went back and forth even on finish, size, and layout.

I think I can save you some of my pain, however, with my tips for how to choose cabinet hardware for your kitchen or bathroom reno. I also wanted to share my favorite traditional hardware styles, the ones that were at the top of my list!

Thanks to Sumner Street Home Hardware for providing the pulls and knobs for our kitchen! They are based out of Portland, Oregon like me and I love shouting them out, and their products!

Remember you can also check out other posts on this DIY kitchen reno:

How to choose cabinet hardware

I've seen enough kitchen inspiration photos that I know... cabinet hardware makes a BIG difference. Most of my recent pins feature brass hardware, with knobs on the doors and pulls on the drawers (that's the traditional combo).  Depending on the color of the cabinets, I also like black hardware and am starting to see and love polished chrome or nickel!

1. Collect your inspirations.

See what they have in common! For me, here are some recent faves...
Source (note the mix of black AND brass hardware!)

What do these have in common? Relatively small (i.e. not modern huge 8"+ long pulls), traditional shapes (versus the modern rounded bar pulls we've seen a lot the past few years), more brass than not, some doubled-up pulls or knobs on top drawers.

I played around with a lot of hardware in my design collage--here's what I ended up with!

2. Count and price the options.

Count how many pulls and knobs you'll need, and set your budget.

One exercise I did for counting and visualizing was I played around with our cabinet renderings in Paint (so old school) and mapped out where knobs and pulls would go.

Once I did the math and realized we needed 13 pulls and 18 knobs, I decided I didn't want to use high-end $20+ each pulls. I've heard the advice many times "don't skimp on hardware," or "splurge on hardware." We went cheap on the hardware in our last kitchen and it always felt cheap! BUT, there's a middle ground between bottom-of-the-line multipack and designer $30/piece stuff.

So I set out Googling... I knew from this bathroom reno that brushed brass hardware can easily look so plastic-ey. We ordered 5 different styles and some of them seriously looked like super matte gold spray paint. I wanted antique brass, not brushed brass, after this experience. But not too dark/distressed. I also wanted it to look good with the brass light fixture we were using.

While searching for beautiful, classic, not cheap-looking, affordable knobs and pulls I found one brand that I really loved. Sumner Street Home Hardware popped up most of the places I searched and I saw several styles that I thought might work. This brings me to the next step...

3. Order samples

This is a MUST when choosing hardware!! I've done it on previous projects and it's changed my direction. You just have to see the choices in person! Not only the finish quality and color but how they look with your cabinets.

When I held up black pulls to our white cabinets, they just looked too bold. Polished chrome and nickel looked okay, but as the kitchen came together I decided it needed more warmth, and hardware was a great way to do that.

Order pulls AND knobs of the style you're considering, and hold them up to your cabinets if you have them (or the sample piece if you don't).

4. Order--and double-check your count and specific lengths!

You can also usually choose from different lengths... for example the pulls we went with come in 3-1/4" long and 6" long (and round knobs). There are different rules of thumb on how long your pulls should be based on drawer length, but chances are you'll have a few different sizes of drawers and there's no need to use a different pull for each one. We have 24" wide drawers and a few 15" wide drawers, so I ordered mostly the 6" long ones. Don't overthink it, just choose hardware that is roughly to scale throughout the room (and remember smaller pulls are generally more traditional).

I had a lot of fun considering different options throughout this process and while I only took ONE style home with me, I still want to show you the other favorites I considered!!

My favorite traditional cabinet hardware styles

Here are my favorites from Sumner Street. Most of these come in 3+ finishes. I didn't think I would consider going for polished chrome or nickel until I saw some of these! That top left one also comes in satin brass, though, which I also seriously considered (4" length and 6" length).

Almost all of their hardware options are under $10 each, many around $5 each, and the quality is so much better than the random ones I've ordered from mystery Amazon sellers in the past. I was so excited to find their brand, I reached out to them about this project!

SO MANY classy, classic choices from Sumner Street! (You can shop their whole catalog on their website but can buy it on WayfairAmazonHome Depot, etc.)

I really love the solid, classic looks, but I decided our kitchen needed something with a little roundness and frilliness to it--I went with the Charlotte pull in Satin Brass.

I think these options would look so good in a newer or older home, on shaker or more ornate cabinet fronts, and many of these are just so classic they are so versatile!

How to install cabinet hardware

I have made progress toward installing our hardware, but am not done yet and wanted to share this post with you before the holiday. Full instructions on how to install cabinet hardware deserve their own post and thankfully, I saw this recent tutorial by Young House Love and it covers it so well. I'm using that method installing our Sumner Street pulls and knobs (with some modifications).

That tutorial uses a hardware template (a thin piece of plastic with holes and marks where the center of standard sized pulls should go). However hardware templates are often too small for longer hardware like our 6" pulls. Plus, they are best for shorter drawers like our top ones, but not the big middle/bottom ones, when you want the pulls centered on the faces! So I just used a level with measurements and free-handed the marks for drilling holes.
Squint and you can see the masking tape I used to mark the centers (and holes, but I tore all the tape too small so never mind)
Measuring 3" from the center mark on either side

(However, as I shared some stories about this someone on Instagram recommended this amazing tool to me--custom hardware template system! Brilliant!)

Another outside resource to mention is this hardware placement guide by Studio McGee. Take a look through at their examples of more modern vs. more classic vs. more traditional placement and scale options such as knobs. (I chose to center the knobs on the edge of the frame--you'll see when I share pics of it installed!)

I can't wait to share more with you and I hope you check out these pretty options from Sumner Street for your next project!

Update: here is the hardware in the finished kitchen!

Thanks again to Sumner Street Home Hardware for providing the pulls and knobs for our kitchen!

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